Get Inspired!

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I’ve always taken a lot on.

Painting commissions, exhibitions, writing books, teaching workshops, launching and then running my online School. I’ve often felt busy.

But that busy feeling has reached a WHOLE new level since I’ve had my baby Ben.

Before Ben was born (last September) my husband Phil worked alongside our invaluable team member Carrie, to provide me with much needed support with everything except the painting.

But now Ben’s here, me or Phil are always looking after him (unless my brilliant Mum is – she’s also a huge help). Thank goodness for Carrie!

It’s a huge privilege to have Ben to care for (and feels all the better now he’s started sleeping through the night!) and I’m super grateful for the chance to do it.

But the limit to the hours in the day means some things have just had to be dropped right now.

Meals have to be prepped QUICKLY. Dexter the dog’s not getting the long walks he used to. I’m painting less 🙁

And in addition to the support of the people around me, to stay just-about sane in this most intense of years, I’ve needed another thing:

Morning me-time.

Phil has been amazing (as usual) and facilitated me having 45 mins each morning to do some pilates and then have my breakfast in bed.

Heaven. Well the breakfast in bed bit, the pilates is hard work!

What I’ve noticed is that if I don’t get the pilates done FIRST thing, then there is ABSOLUTELY NO HOPE at all of me doing it AT ALL.

As the day goes on, seemingly ‘more important’ things seem to take over and I never make the time to do it, even in Ben’s nap times or in the evening once he’s asleep. It’s crazy really because when I’m able to step back and have clarity, I’d say doing the pilates and looking after my body is very important to me so should be prioritised.

This is a phenomenon that’s quite well known. As Gretchen Rubin writes in ‘Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday lives’:

For most people, whenever possible, important habits should be scheduled for the morning. Mornings tend to unfold in a predictable way, and as the day goes on, more complications arise – whether real or invented… Also self-control is strongest then; I heard about one corporate dining room that encourages healthier eating habits by requiring people to place their lunch orders by 9.30a.m, no changes permitted.

Utilising mornings is also what I did when I was just starting my painting career and had a regular full-time job.

I used to get ready for work early, and then paint until I had to leave the house. In fact I changed jobs so I could walk to work and thus gain an extra 30-45 minutes painting time each morning.

I will forever be grateful that I was able to do this. It could have been so easy to have fallen into what Oliver Burkeman calls the ‘Importance Trap’:

It’s tempting to tell yourself you’ll save the important stuff for when you’ve got a big slab of time. But you just end up focusing on trivial tasks instead. One way to avoid this pitfall: spend the first hour of each day-before checking email – on something that truly matters. Even half an hour of doing a vital task beats six or seven hours you only fantasised about.

Challenge!

So if you consider developing your painting skills to be important to you, and you’ve not yet  managed to get painting into your life on a regular basis, how about you take this challenge:

  1. Commit to 2 full weeks of doing around 30 mins of painting EACH morning. Wake up a little earlier if you have to. If you need inspiration check out my online School of course! Or if you’d like some more generic art inspiration, try something like Danny Gregory’s ‘Art Before Breakfast’ book.
  2. Actually do it each day!
  3. Review your output at the end of those 2 weeks. You’ll be seriously impressed at the amount you’ve achieved. Impressed enough that I think you’ll want to carry on with your new routine.

If you try this, please post your progress in the comments below – I’d love to read about it. And if you’ve any other scheduling tips, please share them below.

P.S – to take a quiz from Gretchen Rubin about what ‘type’ you are when it comes to forming habits, check out this post I wrote a while ago.

126 Comments
  1. JaneG 4 weeks ago

    Great advice—I think painters are afraid of losing their train of thought and then picking up later—– its about getting into and staying in the flow!! In the crazy world we live in however, it makes sense to use bits of time. Your class is awesome Anna– professional beyond anything else I have seen.. I am enjoying it and I know how much work it is to create and support it. Thank you, Jane

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much Jane. You’re right about that worry about not being able to get in the flow in short bursts. The thing is, the more you do it, the easier it gets to just dip in! So pleased you’re enjoying the School.

    • Gracie Shack 3 weeks ago

      Hi Anna I like your art you always paint so beautifully! I have spoken with Carrie few times via emails and she is super lady! And I am going to try this challnege how did you know?…you read my mind LOL I haven’t had hardly any painting me time at all I get sidetracked with all the other stuff that fills your day however I a, so going to take this challenge 🙂
      thank you for being an inspiration to me to paint more!

      -Gracie!

  2. Carole 4 weeks ago

    Yes, I use the 45 min before work to paint. That way my first energy goes into painting – I find takes so much intense focus – probably because I am a beginner & trying to remember everything.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Good for you Carole, I bet you’re really progressing.

  3. Lorri 4 weeks ago

    Wow that’s amazing I am going to try it ❤️

  4. Lily 4 weeks ago

    I am trying a modified version of this-one hour painting every other day since I want to go to the gym on the days that I am not painting 😉 would love to do this morning practice with you!

    Lily.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      The body is important too so that sounds great Lily!

  5. Sally 4 weeks ago

    I commit to the challenge, starting tomorrow. I’m an “obliger” (Gretchen Rubin). This is what I need. Thanks, Anna.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Brilliant, well done Sally! Ohh that reminds me, I will link to that other post I wrote about Gretchen’s habit types…

  6. Karen 4 weeks ago

    Anna, I’m going to go for this too— although I’ll have to push my “start date” off for a few days.
    Back to school brings a new season of craziness, so this is a great time to re-evaluate my workflow!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Sounds like you have the opportunity to re-jig things even though you will be very busy! Give it a go Karen.

  7. elaine pritchard 4 weeks ago

    YES, YES, YES! JUST DO IT!

  8. Nandhini Narasimhan 4 weeks ago

    Thanks very much Anna for the blog and YES I am a morning person and start my day with kids at a school . Your blog resonates with me a lot and am sure I am going to take up your challenge and see myself commit for a couple of weeks and update you with my progress in a comment.. I have become a better human ever since I started with school and my painting practice has improved by leaps and bounds and the whole experience of being a schooler is fantastic.. thanks for this and wish you happy times with Baby Ben and your better half and painting so fantastically taking us members all with you in your painting journey..

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Brillant, so pleased you’ve found the School helpful Nandhini and I look forward to reading your progress!

  9. Shelley Reynolds 4 weeks ago

    I hold my study of Gods word as my most important priority. It also requires an open ended time slot to reflect meditate and find application , so perhaps to schedule a definitive amount of time for painting is the best way for me too. The works I’m able to produce really encourage me to work at it longer. I’ve never been one to hold to a schedule. , but the enjoyment is a great magnet. Thank you for sharing yourself Anna. You are appreciated.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Thanks for your comment Shelley, yes time in the morning for spiritual practice is super important too. Good luck with your painting Shelley.

    • Rachel 3 weeks ago

      I need to get better at reading/meditating with the Bible too, AND do better with my art. I wonder if we are birds of a feather? But I am soooo not a morning person!

  10. Angela Coppola 4 weeks ago

    I am going to do this. I need to. Not doing it is causing depression.

    Now to figure out how to get to bed earlier!

  11. Gail 4 weeks ago

    Going to try!!

  12. Deborah 4 weeks ago

    Anna,
    This Post is JUST what I needed to get myself in gear and break a bad habit….watching World News at night, as I wake up blurry eyed in the morning!
    This will be ther perfect antidote to break that habit!
    You’re so right about taking small sessions of time. If I try to find time, it will Never happen. Last night I purchased a daylight bulb and was trying to figure out a better schedule … your post is so timely!!
    I’m with all of you…. Time to move forward !
    Anna, I truly appreciate your time creating such incredibly well done, thoughtful classes, and blog. I can’t imagine the time you and your Team must expend…as teaching on the Internet and using media has its challenges! You, and your team, are fabulous. Thank you!
    Many blessings to you and yours~

  13. ronnie m 4 weeks ago

    Thanks Anna

  14. Allie 4 weeks ago

    When I hit the post to find out what type of habits I make vis a vis G Ruben, I am redirected to the same post ?

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Ooops. I’ve fixed that now, try refreshing Allie

  15. Christi Jones 4 weeks ago

    I am going to do this. I spend WAY too much time on social media first thing in the morning 🙁 and that needs to change right now!

  16. Anita Visram 4 weeks ago

    Hi Anna. I am very fortunate yo be retired and able to paint when the mood takes me. Consequently I have a lot of paintings. So I turn them into greetings cards and they go to family and friends. You have inspired me no -end.
    Best regards
    PS Love your book.

  17. Ruth Ficken 4 weeks ago

    Ok Anna.. Here I go… I retired from teaching High school Art 8 years ago, We moved twice and I signed up for your on line class two years ago… and I have not done ONE LESSON yet in fact I have not done any art since I retired! i’m going to commit to your two week challenge. and also get back to the gym too. (in the last 7 months Ive lost 25 lbs so at least that’s a plus. but my art has bee a big issue for me. This will be a start!…Wish me lucK.
    Ruth… up in the Great Pacific North West

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Oh Ruth I’m sorry you’ve not found the time to paint, but with that amazing weight loss it sounds like this has been a big period of positive transition for you. Now’s your time! Go for it.

  18. Chris 4 weeks ago

    Anna, this challenge has come at a most opportune time for me. I have recently re-assessed priorities in my life around creativity and have come up with three areas that I would like to improve and progress with…one of them is painting (thanks for creating such a wonderful school!). I am going to try this challenge of doing an hour of painting every morning for the next two weeks and see what happens. Traditionally I ‘get to it’ … if I ‘get to it’…later in the afternoon. I’m excited to see how adopting a morning practice feels. Thanks!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Oooh I hope it’s useful Chris, good luck.

  19. Helen 4 weeks ago

    I like your reminders and I also find the early morning time suits me best. I am developing my painting habits and hopefully can be developed into an hour daily.

  20. Aaron Cristofaro 4 weeks ago

    I try to mediate for a half an hour before I paint or draw. It seems to refresh my mind.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      I’ve only ever managed a few weeks at a time meditating Aaron. I know it’s something I should attempt again. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Christie M. Nicklay 4 weeks ago

    This is something that I’ve been contemplating for a while now. Between my painting and exercise time, the morning seems to be the only time to MAKE SURE it happens. Life happens and does indeed get in the way sometimes. So I’ve committed to using my mornings to workout, breakfast and 30 minutes of quality painting. I can’t wait to see where I’m at in two weeks. THANK YOU, Anna for the great suggestions and your words of encouragement!

  22. Margaret Towers 4 weeks ago

    I am new to watercolor and find myself reading books and watching videos but not actually painting! Fear I’m sure is what holding me back. So I love this challenge. I will “ just” paint and experience the joy of that while I’m trying all the techniques I’ve observed in my reading and video watching! Everyday will be a challenge but certainly a worthy goal.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Go for it Margaret and be kind to yourself if your results fall short of where you ultimately want to be.

  23. Annie 4 weeks ago

    Since my 3.5 year old daughter wakes up at the crack of dawn every. single. morning. without failing and her brother is usually not far behind… My “morning” me-time happens at 8:30pm: once the kids are in bed. I don’t watch tv (it was not a big sacrifice), instead I paint. But it works! I have a daylight balanced light to help with the colours, and I get my moment of peace… uninterrupted until I’m too tired to paint.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      If it weren’t for Phil being around to help in the morning this would be me as well Annie – though I do struggle to be motivated by the evening as I feel so tired. I’m a lark naturally. But needs must, right!

  24. Maxim 4 weeks ago

    Great challenge. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  25. Amanda 4 weeks ago

    I really need to do this. Every day I wake with the desire to paint, then life gets in the way and before I know the day is slipping away together with my energy even thought the ideas are still in my head. I really want to get them down on paper and make some progress with my painting.

  26. Carol 4 weeks ago

    Out of bed and to the painting table! Sounds good to me and that’s my goal starting next week. It helps to have your painting table all set up. I’m lucky to have a room for that.
    Love your school, Anna! I agree that it is the best around. You have definitely elevated my level of painting. Many thanks!

  27. williamsdia 4 weeks ago

    Hi Anna, I started your school a couple months ago with the goal of painting all day long! LOL. As they say, the best of intentions…. Then, one of the first emails I got from you had to do with setting time aside to paint – for me. I’ve tried to paint – even a little – everyday, but still have not felt that I’m making the most of the opportunity as I would like. So. I will gladly try to move my schedule around so I can paint in the morning before things get rolling here. I’ll post in two weeks as to how it goes. Thank you so much for sharing your life lessons with us (in addition to the extraordinary watercolor lessons). Best to you and your family and team! (P.S. I’ve ordered Danny Gregory’s book along with one of his others, “The Creative License. Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are.” Can’t wait for them to arrive!)

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Sounds like you’re getting back on track and I hope those books help too- well done!

      • williamsdia 3 weeks ago

        Hi Anna! Happy September 1st ~ Only a week into the challenge, but I will be leaving on a road trip in couple days so thought I would leave an update before I forget. I have been able to paint everyday (though not always in the morning before breakfast!). It has been soooo good for me and for my sense of wellbeing. I’m taking some painting supplies with me and hope to continue to paint while I’m away 😉 And, I’m loving the books – so inspirational. Thanks again for everything ~

  28. Mariana Holley 4 weeks ago

    I’m taking this email as the universe telling me “Hey get it together”! We’ve been in the middle of buying our first home and while I’m no longer working being at home with my son it has been a challenge to find more time for the things I love. I’m definitely going to take this challenge! Thank you so mich Anna

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Home moving/buying is a huge extra admin hassle and stress – though it’ll totally be worth it. Hope you can make some me-time Mariana.

  29. Shalaka 4 weeks ago

    Anna I can totally understand how your must be juggling between your baby and work and finding time for creating such amazing tutorials for us ,really creditable how you manage all this , I am going to take this challenge as my baby is also small ,just 2 1/2years old and he keeps me more busy than last year , always demanding . Whenever I decide to paint he finds some excuse so that I leave my painting and fulfill his demands which are give me water, want to use potty, cartoon , hungry , the list is endless. if he is sleeping I do paint .if he is not troubling then I have to take care of my teenage daughter who is always upset about everything happening around her .or i am busy picking her up from school or dropping her to gymnastics So thanks for motivating to take this challenge , I am going to getup 45 mins earlier and do more painting at least that will be me time as you said and the idea that my toddler and teenager will be not be near me the thought is amazing for me .

  30. Kris Mason 4 weeks ago

    Anna –
    Babies do change everything in your life and it’s great that you are planning time for yourself in a very healthy way. My children are 13 months apart and they took over all aspects of my life and my health was not something I put first. Your good health helps to keep your whole family happy and healthy.
    My kids are now in their 40’s with their own children experiencing just what you are. My daughter’s set of twins really put the whole family into a tailspin but it was also one of the best things that every happened. I started your online painting class to help me dedicate time to myself and to help eliminate the stress in my life. Watercolor is very calming for me and has helped to develop a talent I really didn’t know I had.
    Thank you so much for the time you spend making your class possible.
    Love your family and love yourself.
    Kris Mason

    • Andrea Henry 4 weeks ago

      I’m sorry Anna. I am semi retired but have a great many priorities. Since I have greenhouses, and, a husband with terminal cancer, there are certain things I must work around. Today was our first really nice cool day in awhile. After working in the greenhouse all morning and making breakfast for my husband, I am now ready to paint. It is 107 F out there now. I will stop to make dinner, then paint til bedtime. If I have orders to get ready, I do that before any painting. My DNA is such, that I must do the most difficult tasks and any business first. If I wake up some mornings and it is too cold outside and my business is completed, I will pour a cup of coffee and paint. I am dedicated to doing artwork every day whether it is painting or drawing. When we make deliveries, my husband drives. I always have art supplies with me. I have drawn him several times in the car, but other times I catch up on my art reading. If you look at Little Marrowbone Farm on Facebook, you will see I have plenty of painting subjects in the middle of winter. I think the important thing is for each individual to do what works best for them. Not everyone has a flexible schedule.

      • Author
        Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

        So sorry to hear of your husband’s health Andrea. It’s great you’re still finding the time for some art though.

  31. Gayle 4 weeks ago

    This is indeed inspiring. I will start this on the 31st for my two weeks. Am camping and when the salmon are here – they drive the schedule . I will put my phone away until a later time in the day and focus on painting. Thanks, Anna!

  32. Katia Galante 4 weeks ago

    I’ve actually been doing this for a while; I get up at 5:30, get ready for work and then pain to/draw until I have to go. Often I prep an overnight oat for breakfast so I have that ready to go, and then it’s only 30 min walk to work.
    Try it it’s great!

  33. Rebecca Keene 4 weeks ago

    I believe it was no accident I found your site! I have spent the last year trying to figure out what kind of art I want to get back into, and when! I needed someone to tell me a few steps to just GET STARTED and stop thinking and waiting!

    Wish me luck!!

  34. Hema Ambareen 4 weeks ago

    This came at the write time …Thank you so much for writing such an inspiring blog post n yes I m in for this 2 weeks challenge

  35. Chris 4 weeks ago

    Hi Anna, Im in almost the same space as you..My daughter is just 3 months old and I’m going crazy trying to prioritize my time with all duties and painting. You are right in saying to do just “do it” instead of trying to make some time for the big things..I tried it and it dint work out…I’m more of a night person…So now I try to paint everyday in the night after dinner. Thanks for your thoughtful posts. Your paintings are the first thing that inspired me to try botanicals and watercolor.

    Thanks,
    Chris

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      The first 6 months were almost a write-off for me Chris, I think you’re doing brilliantly. Keep it up!!

  36. Judy Jacson 4 weeks ago

    Hey Anna… Morning ‘ME’ art time is soooo important… die inside without it. During the last year and a half I lost mine. Husband became ill, parents became very ill and needed care, grown son became very ill and needed care, granddaughter came to live with us and I’m homeschooling… had to give up my studio, etc. etc. etc. I was dying inside.

    So…. to solve the problem, This is what I/we did. First thing in the morning in ‘school’ we do art – granddaughter does hers to get the right brain going for school and then she writes about the art she did to get the left brain going (today she drew my half full cup of coffee then wrote about ‘half full vs half empty’ thinking). While she’s doing that, I do my art. This guarantees it’s done at least 5 days a week. We are both benefiting greatly.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Wow, tough time you’ve been through Judy but wonderful you can get art in to your day with your granddaughter. Well done.

  37. Michaela 4 weeks ago

    This is a very interesting idea, Anna :). I will try it. The most important thing for me is not to go back to bed after feeding my cats at 5am. This is hard ;).

  38. Janet Byers 4 weeks ago

    I take my morning coffee to the computer to check my facebook and instagram accounts. Depending on how busy I am, I draw or paint most days. If I lack motivation to do art, I usually find that seeing all the beautiful art people post online can get me motivated 🙂

  39. Janet Byers 4 weeks ago

    I would love to take the morning challenge and thank you 🙂

  40. Marianne 4 weeks ago

    This is so not going to work for me, but I do admire people who can pull it off. I need a lot of sleep, alas, and I need to focus on my work as a freelance taranslator, first thing after breakfast. If I start the day doing something else first, my entire day seems to go wrong and I get nothing done.

  41. Beth 4 weeks ago

    I’m going to give this a try ! You are right, Other things seem to get in the way and before you know it the day is done and I haven’t painted at all. It must become a priority.
    Thanks to the pep talk !

  42. Connie 4 weeks ago

    Ok, I’m going to do it. I took the quiz. I’m an obliger with rebel tendencies. Wish me luck!

  43. Vickie 4 weeks ago

    All right, all right — gulp — I’m in, and this is the first time I’ve ever in my life accepted a challenge like this, and I’m…. well, not young, and an absolute control freak, so you should be honored! Such is my admiration for your work, and I do admit you have hit the nail on the head about several things in this post. So we’ll give it a go. My biggest fear, though, is not failing, but stopping at 30 minutes…. I will want to continue on for, oh, about 30 hours. Like a lot of us who commented, who wants to put down a paintbrush and go to work? And who in their right mind (especially ME) wants to go to bed 30 minutes early to get up 30 minutes earlier? Yikes…. On the other hand, if you work all day with the end goal of finishing a project at work so you can reward yourself with a little extra time with your paints, that seems fair, and a great motivator as well. Maybe both, eh? 🙂 Maybe not for the readers who are moms, though, and maybe not even for me, because you’re right; there are ALWAYS things that need to be done in today’s world, no matter who you are, that keep us away from what we love doing. How sad! Let’s see if we can’t overcome that somehow!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      I am honored Vickie! Just give it a go, and try to remember that stopping after 30 mins, however frustrating is still better than doing nothing! That’s why it’s very important to give it the full two weeks and review the amount you’ve done. That should hopefully be as much as 7 or 8 hours worth and that’s quite significant actually. Good luck!

  44. Elaine Gruenke 4 weeks ago

    Thanks!! This is an amazing post and speaks to all my challenges! Having a two year old and always waiting to find that special block of time to do some art… but when I get a little time— mainly at night when my son is in bed— there are so many other things that grab my attention, and I feel too tired to focus on one thing…. the logistics of a morning art habit are a little tricky for me to organize but my son will start two mornings of daycare next month so I’m thinking I should commit to doing art immediately after he goes to daycare. I agree that checking email or the news completely derail any plan I may have. So those need to come after! Thanks so much for this post! ❤️

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Good luck Elaine, I do feel so fortunate to have Phil here at home to share Ben care. Sounds like you should get a little time back soon though!

  45. Suman Bist 4 weeks ago

    I would love to try the 30 min morning challenge , thank you

  46. Sue 4 weeks ago

    Anna, thank you so much for this email! I am totally giving this challenge a try. I’m definitely an obliger so committing to this challenge and putting it out there for you and my fellow classmates to see should really help me follow through. I am an early riser but often I find myself getting sidetracked by different distractions and distracting thoughts. I’m giving this a go and I’ll see where it takes me 🙂 Thanks again Anna!

  47. Denise Pepe 4 weeks ago

    Paint before my work is impossible… hospital hour!
    Paint everyday so…famíly
    In fact I paint every time I can …

    Be a woman physician and a painter is very hard‍⚕️

  48. Karen Contreraz 4 weeks ago

    I agree with Elaine. Just do it! I keep telling myself this. So… I am going to do it!

  49. Carol Waters 4 weeks ago

    Hi Anna, I am Committed to the Morning Watercolour Challenge and can barely wait for my alarm to go off already ! I have got into a Too Long stretch with No Painting, so Thank you for this big Push in the Right Diirection !

  50. Learner 4 weeks ago

    Thank you, Anna, for such a timely post! As always, inspiring and comprehensive. Love it! I admire how consistent you’ve been even while having to care for baby Ben – your treasure;)) You have a wonderful hubby and a great team! Thank you for the excellent School and community here. You know, I was thinking how can I get to paint regularly no matter how busy it is. And I thought of you. I remember while ago you said in one of the forums that you paint in the morning because if you don’t do it in the morning, it wont get done! That made me think;) So when your email today with this Morning me-time post, I thought Wow! God is telling me: Paint in the morning! 🙂 Some things are coming up though, and I’ll have to work it around that for a month… But I’ll definitely try to paint in the morning, after my quiet time with the Lord and meditating on His comforting and uplifting Word – that will rightfully always have the first place in my day, as much as possible. 🙂 Another thing I should try to do is exercise. Haha Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and struggles. It’s encouraging to know others are going through similar challenged. Thank you, Anna! Morning is the answer for me. I can do it! Day or night, happy painting, everyone! 😉

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      So pleased this came at the right time for you Learner, and so pleased you’re enjoying the School so much.

  51. Jon Morris 4 weeks ago

    Hi Anna…I’m recently retired and decided to take up water-colouring simply to give me a new interest (I’m a signwriter and have painted in acrylics for most of my life) Always been an early-riser and my best work is always done directly after my morning cuppa! Now that I’ve settled into some sort of routine, I find I do draughting, masking out, idea-building in the afternoon/evening but there’s nothing better than having a new piece taped to the drawing board ready to go and clean, morning light to paint it by. Puts a smile on my face! I find too that I can easier cope with things going wrong when I’m fresh and positive, too.

    I find that even if I only give it an hour, it’s a GOOD hour and often, I forget about lunch!

    Thanks for your invaluable help…it’s so helpful to see techniques demonstrated and explained. It’s brought me on in leaps and bounds!
    Cheers,
    Jon 🙂

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Your retirement schedule sounds wonderful Jon, keep enjoying it!

  52. Michelle stephens 4 weeks ago

    Hi Anna yes I totally agree! I work as a TA in a primary school, have 3 girls, a dog and a husband and I’ve found that the only way to fit everything in is to start my day early! During term time I get up, walk the dog, come home and work out for half an hour, have a shower then get the girls up at 7 and get ready for school but On the weekends and holidays I still get up early and walk the dog but I’m always drawn to my easel rather than the exercise mat! It’s my favourite time to paint when I know that I have no distractions and more importantantly I don’t feel guilty!
    I’m so glad that you’re finding time for yourself, it’s so easy to lose yourself in family life!

  53. Khanh Nugent 4 weeks ago

    Anna, thanks for your wonderful post! You absolutely get my commitment after I’ve changed my painting schedule from late evening (after everyone in my family goes to bed) to early morning (before everyone gets up) starting today with just 30 minutes and I am so happy it works for me (of course with a cup of coffee :)). I will try to make it 1 hour painting in early morning in the next few days! Again, I really appreciate your dedication and hard work running the School and keep motivating and inspiring all of us in our painting journey. Thank you Anna 🙂

  54. Adriela Sakamoto 4 weeks ago

    What a great challenge. Having read some of the other folks* daily schedules, I am amazed that any find time to paint. And that makes me take a hard look at my own schedule. I am so happy to be learning watercolor. My problem is knowing when to stop. I would paint all day if I could.. why is it so darn addicting? Thank you for your dedication and hard work. I was thinking, the other day, how on earth does she have the time to paint so many beautiful tutorials?

  55. Adeline 4 weeks ago

    Anna,
    This is a great challenge that I will take… in a week’s time… as I am travelling now. I am not a morning person, but I see the point of painting in the morning light before the other tasks start cropping up. I am really grateful for this challenge as for the past 6 months I have had weeks, even months, without painting. I cannot put a finger on what has really prevented me to paint on a regularly basis. Lack of discipline, most likely… So your challenge is very timely. Thank you!

  56. Janice Giles 4 weeks ago

    Count me in!

  57. Debi 4 weeks ago

    What a wonderful idea! I recently retired and one would think I have all of the time in the world to be creative however, I find that I am less organized without a schedule as opposed to when I had a strict work schedule. Therefore, I am going to commit to 45 -60 minutes of painting time each morning and see how I fair. Wish me luck!

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Good luck Debi, I hope it works for you!

  58. Yvonne Faber 4 weeks ago

    Dear Anna Mason,
    You are absolutely right. Many thanks for re-instating and reminding that everyday is a MUST!
    Enjoy your baby.
    Kind Regards,

  59. Angie Shaffer 4 weeks ago

    I’m doing it!!! I MISS PAINTING. I – INTROVERT – have an amazingly loving family (ALL EXTROVERTS. All of them. Husband, toddler, pre-adolescent, college student. EACH. ONE. OF. THEM.) So, while finding TIME in the morning is possibly possible, finding alone-space is frustratingly hard (i.e. IMPOSSIBLE.)

    HERE’S THE PLAN:
    *** try it;
    *** expect to be interrupted (incessantly) because someone’s ALWAYS awake;
    *** expect to hurt some feelings;
    *** expect to feel like a big meanie;
    *** expect that they’ll get used to it because they’re AMAZING humans;
    *** expect to reach the end of the two weeks with more progress than if I’d never tried
    *** try again.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      Yes! Do give it a try Angie, they may even surprise you!

  60. Janice Giles 4 weeks ago

    I needed this! Okay, I will commit to doing art first for two weeks!

  61. Cat 4 weeks ago

    Now that I am retired I find it’s actually HARD to manage my time well. The Working Me would have said that is just crazy talk, but it is so much easier to put things off when there is no structure to my day.
    So I have committed to my exercise class 3 mornings a week and I’m going to add the 30 minutes of painting as well. If not in the morning then in the afternoon.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 4 weeks ago

      This doesn’t surprise me Cat – it’s something I noticed when I started working from home – imposing your own schedule is a challenge. I hope you have some success now!

  62. Salomón Sosa 4 weeks ago

    Sound interesting, i will definitely give it a try.

  63. Tricia 4 weeks ago

    I am in for this challenge on my second morning and thrilled with the progress

  64. Rubeena Ianigro 4 weeks ago

    Thank you for this! I have a 5 month old…so I can empathize with how much harder it gets! Hugs.

  65. Jo 4 weeks ago

    Although, I make time for quiet time with God in the morning, I struggle to find time for exercising and painting. I Home educate, my three children, have a small writing business and between Family and household needs, that me time tends to get postponed indefinitely and it gets frustrating.Thank you for suggesting this challenge. It never occurred to me to try to paint I. The morning. I will certainly give it a go.
    So grateful for you, Anna. I am loving the school.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 3 weeks ago

      Glad you’re enjoying the School Jo and it sounds like you have a lot on so it’s great you’re making any time to paint. Do keep it up!

  66. Tonya Westenskow 3 weeks ago

    This is an excellent challenge Anna to build great habits. I’m such a morning person but get caught up in the day to day and sometimes miss out on “me-time”. I’ve made it a point this year to do my calligraphy and modern lettering daily and now I’ve been incorporating water color where I can. Setting a morning routine will be refreshing and motivating to grow in my skills as I’m thoroughly loving to paint. Cheers from Idaho!

  67. Tricia 3 weeks ago

    Being a bank holiday the whole house was slow awaking so I had nearly 2 hours of total peace to paint in – my painting should be well on the way to finishing early next week – bliss – thank you Anna for this challenge.

  68. Nadia Grondin 3 weeks ago

    Hi Anna, your challenge is very tempting. I have the privilege to be a mom at home, but with 3 boys teen and my husband working late it is always difficult to find time to paint. I have subscribe to your free classes before going onHoliday and did not had time to look at it. I will try your challenge starting tomorrow (1st day of school here in Canada) beginning with your free class. I am a beginner in watercolour (I have been following course for the last 2 yrs in acrylic painting) and will see if I want to follow wit your program).
    Nadia
    P.s. I am French speaking, I apologize in advance for my poor English.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 3 weeks ago

      Good to hear from you Nadia – I hope you enjoy painting the pear!

  69. Maxine Walburn 3 weeks ago

    Thank you Anna, I will start that routine straight away. As you have said the day fills up with other things when all you wanted to do was paint for a couple of hours.
    My stars keep telling me to change my routine, maybe this is it, this is the change that will help me do more painting. Thank you and congratulations for your little one. This Christmas you will have fun with Santa.

  70. Serafina Stewart 3 weeks ago

    Anna,
    I haven’t written on the site ever… but I’ve been your student for 2 years and because of all I have learned from you I am now showing and selling my paintings. I live on an island in Washington State. I am so grateful to you for your lovely videos and for sharing your life with all of us. Ben is adorable and I’m so happy that you are finding your way to still teach and work and enjoy being a Mom! My personal challenge is not cleaning and cooking all morning in hopes of getting things done so I can enter the studio! I am taking your challenge to heart and will hope to develop the habit of putting aside those chores so that I can really become an artist – PUTTING MY WORK FIRST!
    Thank you for the encouragement to try to truly live as an artist. It is not an easy path… Serafina

    • Author
      Anna Mason 3 weeks ago

      So pleased to hear from you Serafina! Just thrilled you’re now showing and selling paintings – good for you!

  71. Rachel 3 weeks ago

    Looks like tomorrow morning is it. Fresh start- two weeks of art at 7:30 am! I can only budget a half hour, but it’s a start. Thanks for the push!

  72. Sally Black 3 weeks ago

    Mornings are my most productive time so I totally agree with you Anna! The trick for me is to try and establish a habit of getting up a bit earlier and making sure that I make good use of the time I have given myself. As an Obliger I’m making that commitment right here and I shall let you know how I get on!

  73. Tricia 3 weeks ago

    Day 5 and really enjoying my me time painting – another couple of mornings and I should be there with my second picture – thank you Anna really enjoying this challenge

    • Author
      Anna Mason 3 weeks ago

      So pleased it’s working out Tricia!

  74. Mary 3 weeks ago

    I am no longer a morning person. But at night I get motivated. So my best painting occurs at night, well, early morning (2-3 am). This just works for me.

  75. Twinkle prajapati 3 weeks ago

    Oh yeah! A great advice..! But i have a yoga classics in early mrng.. 5.30-7
    So what should i do mam.. ?
    N yes, realistic painting is most imp. For me.. bcz m doing textile desinging… so painting is main part my studies… so pls advice me…

    • Author
      Anna Mason 3 weeks ago

      I guess the key thing is, if it’s important to you, you need to get it locked into your schedule – in the way it sounds like you have yoga locked in. And it’s worth considering a slot in the morning if you can make one so that it happens early on in the day. Good luck

  76. Author
    Anna Mason 3 weeks ago

    So, everyone, how’s the challenge coming along? I hope it’s been working for you. Let me know….

  77. Tricia 3 weeks ago

    Day 7 and am taking on Wayne’s September challlenge along with my special morning time – so I’m in the process of drawing a fob watch ( insides and dial) and chain – it will be quite a challenge but hear goes – watch this space…….

  78. Tricia 3 weeks ago

    I never realized how productive I could be by just 30 minutes every day – I have for the passed couple of days increased it to 1 hour – so now I am taking on the challenge of painting my first rose – slowly slowly as I tend to rush things too much !! – thank you Anna for this motivation

    • Author
      Anna Mason 2 weeks ago

      I’m so pleased it’s been working Tricia, I hope it’s been good for the others who took it on too!

  79. Jullane Rich 2 weeks ago

    I love this idea, I was in the habit, of doing this last year and I have to say it was pure joy for me. I’m retired and had all day it seem to be able to paint. Nop! I found too many other things took my attention away for my time from the paint brush.. My wonderful husband retired too but has decided to drive the school bus. so that means I have two times each day that I have the house all to my self. So starting weds when school starts, I am back behind my desk and will start painting each day.. I look forward to any comments you would like say. I have a few pet Portraits that I will be working on and will post some as I go.

  80. Catherine33 2 weeks ago

    Well,,,after paying for a year of your school and NEVER finishing a painting to post, so sad…….I better accept this challenge and get painting!! I love what you have done for your painting community. I love your teaching style. Thank you Anna for this blog. I needed it.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 2 weeks ago

      Not finishing is a really common block to encounter Catherine, It’s like if you don’t finish, you don’t need to know if it met your standards or not. It can be self protective on some level, but of course really it’s just frustrating and holds you back. Your challenge is definitely to dig out some unfinished ones and finish them off as best you can so you can move on to new challenges. Good luck!

  81. KateScott 2 weeks ago

    Anna, this is a great challenge. Although I normally do my housework first then paint in the afternoons I am going to switch I around. My painting was always my reward for doing all my chores. Cheers Kate.

  82. Philippa 2 weeks ago

    Well Anna, I’ve tried your challenge for two weeks and it’s been a huge success. I’ve managed 30 minutes (sometimes more sometimes less) each day and I really feel positive about my progress. Before the challenge there were days when I kept putting off painting because there were more “important” things to do with the result that I often felt frustrated. Thanks so much for this blog and all your other blogs which are most helpful. Most of all a big thank you to you and your team for this wonderful art school.

  83. Learner 1 week ago

    Dear Anna, Thanks for the very challenging Morning Me-time challenge 🙂 It came at the right time and it was a confirmation to my thoughts that I should paint in the morning! So I happily embarked on the journey which then extended into day time painting, pretty much anytime I had a chance.;-) I must say I enjoyed it and it IS the best painintg time for me. I tested paints, brushes, paper etc… then I painted avocados and mangoes a friend just happened to give me. Then, some unexpected health troubles and pain came… along with other urgent things to take care…I’m sure many here can relate … my morning painting along with any other time got pushed to the back burner. Again. I’m back to occasional and mostly night time painting when I’m so tired… 😉 So, I will probably be the first to admit I failed the Morning challenge;-) Sorry! But the urgent things are solved and health wise I’m doing well, thank God! With a far and long trip coming up next week, I don’t know if I’ll be able to paint every morning… But! It is on my mind, thanks to you, Anna! 😉 And I’m working toward it, not for two weeks only, but as an everyday morning painting habit. I appreciate your hard work and love for painting and teaching anyone who would listen. You’re amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do, for the excellent School and incredible artwork! Hugs!;-)

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